Monday, December 30, 2013

My First Christmas

Flooding in Brazil

Well this week has been amazing!! We started this week only getting 25 minutes to email last P-day but it was alright because on Wednesday we had a huge blessing of being able to talk to our families. It was amazing to get to talk to my family and both sets of grandparents and Uncle Lane too. Haha but let’s back up a min. This week it flooded SO BAD!! We had poop water again up to my thighs!!! We decided to hold our shoes and walked in our sandals. Yeah super Nasty!!! You don’t look down because you don’t wanna know what just brushed over your feet. On Christmas Eve the water was the deepest. We were walking to give a present to a 6 year old but we didn’t want to walk in the water so we decide to walk on a curb I the middle of the street in sandals. We made it 3 quarters of the way down this street when it happened. I roll my ankle and yep, you guessed it, I fell right in that poop water. I hit my elbows on the curb and it really hurt but it was mostly just DISGUSTING and the other 3 elders just stood there laughing at me. What an amazing day! We ended up walking back to our apartment so I could get cleaned up.
Yep, "X" Fell In

The next day was almost perfect. We ate lunch was with a lady and then after that we got to email and Skype our families. It was Amazing! A perfect Christmas Day!

The next day was back to work as usual. We had a District meeting and met some amazing people we are excited to teach! One of these people is Elzeni. She is in her 30’s and has some amazing questions about the church and wants to find the truth. She is married and has a 6 yr old daughter. We will teach the daughter from the Book of Mormon Reader.

Friday we had our first lesson with Marcos!! He went to church 2 weeks ago and has sent us messages every day since with his testimony in every single one. He is the most prepared person I have ever met in my life! He reads and studies every night and wants baptized. He and his girlfriend aren’t married but he is working on everything he needs to do to get married. He says he needs baptism in the True church. He is amazing!!! We also taught his daughter who is 10 and wants baptism as well and Marcos is letting her. We will have a baptism service on the 11th of January for her.

Yesterday was nuts. We ran into 2 drunks who were very WEIRD! The first one prayed for us and then yelled at my companion when his eyes weren’t closed! He then gave me a hug and blew us kisses as we walked away. We met the other one while we were walking home last night and she wanted to speak English and tried to drag me into his house... FREAKY! We also were trying to get to an investigators home and we walked through some kids dealing drugs. We know we were blessed that nothing happened to us.

Killer Millipede
The next adventure happened last night when I was taking a shower. A millipede or centipede came up out of the shower drain. From what I understand they are very poisonous here. I grabbed my towel and ran out of the bathroom to get a broom to kill it. He looked like he was from King Kong, HUGE!! I’ll be honest, it really freaked me out!

This morning we made biscuits and gravy with hash browns and eggs.  It was so good and reminded me of home. I love you all and can’t wait to hear from you!!!!
Elder Bybee & Elder Stilson Eating American Biscuits & Gravy



Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Almost Christmas!!!


Well, we missed a letter from Xavier this week due to major flooding but we did get a quick email letting us know that we will be able to Skype with him at 10:00 a.m. our time. I am so exited! He just had enough time to email us a few pictures so that is what we are posting for this week.

Outside Xavier's Apartment Window
Trying To Keep Dry
Jose & Monica Almeida
Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Program Testimony

I just thought I would share this. On Sunday we had our Christmas Program in Sacrament Meeting and to our surprise the Sister in our ward who was in charge contacted all of the missionaries in our ward that are serving and asked them to send her their testimonies to share.  This is what Elder Stilson sent to her.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Christmas Tree From Home


Hey everyone!!! Well, this is my last day with Elder M. Silva.  I will get a new comp tomorrow at our transfers! Tomorrow is also our mission Christmas party, I am really excited for it! This week was good. It has been a little hard having a comp who has worked in this one area for 4 months and thinks that there is nothing else to do but everything has been good!:) I have had to drive the companionship with faith and a good attitude! (PS... HOLY COW IT IS HARD TO WRITE IN ENGLISH THIS WEEK!)  This is a good thing right?! ;) Last P-day we went and played basketball with some other missionaries in our zone and it was alright.. I like to play basketball though and not dink-around so it was a little rough but good to do something that I miss!:) 
Christmas Package
We didn’t have an opportunity to meet with Tereza this week because she had work every day but we were able to meet with one of her sons and he is LEGIT! He is 25 and just awesome! One day we stopped to visit and he said that his mom wasn’t home but to come back later. When we went back the son answered and said that Tereza wasn’t home again but he asked us, “Where were you the other day? You said you guys were going come back so I was waiting for a lesson..." HE IS THE FIRST PERSON TO SAY THIS AND WE MISSED A HUGE OPPORTUNITY TO GET HIM TO CHURCH!!! But we said a prayer with him and we invited him to church and he said of course. YES!!!! So this week I and my new comp will go back and teach the whole family. Oh and they also gave us another HUGE sack of Mangos again. THE BLESSINGS OF THE MISSION!!!!
 Tuesday night it rained hard again and it flooded on Wednesday but not as bad as the last time and thank heavens the canal DIDN’T over flow again.  Also this week our washing machine broke.... GREAT!!! For the first time in my life I have had to wash my clothes by hand...CHATO!! Annoying... Learning life lessons thought, right? This morning we were also able to deep clean our house! (Now I can send you pictures mom ;) But everything is going good! This transfer should be a little better due to the fact that we are getting 2 more missionaries in Cobilândia!! So we are splitting up the GRANDE COBILĂ‚NDIA!  I have chosen to work in premeiro de maio, Alacrim and Alvorado. Yes these parts are a little more dangerous but we haven’t had any problems and we have a member there who is awesome and we also know a lot of people who live there, they are Awesome!
No, I can’t bring my wallet into the area and very rarely my camera but I KNOW that the Lord is going to bless me and I am not going to have any problems.  I have a number of goals that I am setting for this transfer. They are HARD and will test my patience and make me 100% more humble but I know I will be blessed. Well, I don’t have much time so I need to go but I love you all and thank you to those who have emailed me and written me. I have written a lot of you back and if I haven’t it is because I am waiting on your letters which I will finish TOMORROW!!!!!!! So they are coming!! Thanks Nan and Bomp and Grandma and Grandpa for all of the amazing advice you give me and help me with! Thanks for the love that you all are sending! Thanks Jaxon Wingle for the email it means the world to hear from the youth in the ward back home!! This is the time of year we can remember our Lord and Savior don’t take it for granted! Everyone needs to thank who ever gives you a gift. People who live in the US have it easy and are SOOOOO BLESSED!!! Thank the Lord this time of year for being blessed to live there!! I love you all and all you missionaries keep up the good work!!!! 
Love, Elder Stilson

My New Companion Elder Freire

Monday, December 9, 2013

First Talk in Portugese

BOM DIA DE ELDER STILSON!!! Well this week has been much better. No flooding this week. This past P-day we were able to do a lot of fun things! First, we went to the Garoto Factory. It is a HUGE chocolate factory and is the ONLY one in the world! It was awesome! You have 10 mins during the tour to eat as many bonbons as you can!! ... The first 2-3 mins you love life and think, How many can I eat?! But after that you kind of start to feel sick and by min 8 you are DONE and you feel like you NEVER want to eat another bonbon EVER again! Haha it was great though even if I did eat myself sick. I didn’t feel so good (as you can imagine after eating over 30 bonbons...) and just wanted to go home and sleep haha but my old companion, Elder Torres wanted us to go with them back to the Convento da Penha.  I am so glad he asked us, it was a lot prettier this time going on a beautiful sunny day.  I have a ton of pictures that are awesome!!!

Tuesday we found a new investigator we weren’t planning on encountering!! What a huge blessing. Her name is Tereza and she is awesome!!! She has a HUGE Mango tree at her house and she gave us a mountain of mangos! That is basically all I have eaten the past 2 days and yes they are almost gone. :( But she said she has more for us when we visit with her this week! She has 4 children and every time we have visited with her last week we met a different one.  Haha so NOW we know the whole family and they are all awesome! We are really hoping to get them all to come to church this week.

On Thursday I was asked to give a talk on forgiveness in Sacrament. I have never learned SO much in my entire life. I don’t know why but Saturday I felt confused with repentance. But after writing the talk I have a clear understanding of it and I am SO grateful for that opportunity to learn.

I had to give my talk in Portuguese. It was so hard but it went good! Also yesterday we received a referral to a couple and they are awesome! They aren’t married but they want to get married soon. They have tried to have 2 kids already but they both died before birth. She is pregnant again and having problems again. It is really hard to talk about but we are excited to tell them the amazing news about the Plan of Salvation and how they can meet their children again and be able to raise them in the next life! They are amazing people and really open to what we have had to say.

Alma 8:9-10, 15, 20 really helped me out this week and can help anyone else who is having problems. I love the work even though it is hard. Everything was good this week and can’t wait to write you the blessings that I WILL receive this week! Thanks for the letters, emails and prayers that I have received!!! I love you all!!


Xavier's First Monkey Sighting

Monday, December 2, 2013


Welcome to the amazing season of summer here is good ol' Brazil. This week was a little rough but everything is good. We started out Tuesday waking up to a RIVER IN THE ROAD (RIO NA RUA). The floods are a coming!!!!! Haha it was nuts, the water was up to my knees at one point!!! The water was so high we couldn't walk to our lunch. We had to wait until a bus passed in front of our house to even TRY to exit. It was a very wet day!!! You will see this in the photos. And yes, this is only the beginning of the flood season.

Wednesday the roads were still a complete MESS! There is a canal that is in the city that collects the sewage of everyone in 10 neighborhoods. When it pours and rains so much the canal tends to FLOOD... Yep, there is ALL SORTS of nasty in the road!!! It was ridiculous and really gross. We had to work in this for 2 days!!! But Wednesday we had out Zone conference and it was awesome. It was the Best conference that I have been to so far!

Outside Xavier's Apartment
Thursday was a HAPPY NORMAL DAY in Brazil! No, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving... That was kind of a blessing though because I didn’t feel home sick! But I made a cake and we ate it during our District meeting so that was good. :) I really do have so many things to be grateful for and they ALL involve family and friends, aka YA'LL!!!! You are all so amazing, thank you! Yesterday we went to a member’s house and I tried a Brazilian fruit! It is called Jambo and it smells like a rose!!! Haha but I tried it and it was WAY GOOD! I looked a little closer and noticed that some of the seeds on the fruit were MOVING!!! There were some weird bugs ALL OVER the fruit.  Hopefully I don’t get sick.
Sister Penha said, "I love Jambo!!"
I said, " I do too just not with the bugs!!"
Sister Penha said, "Elder... HUKUNA MATATA!!"
It has really been rough this week. We had 3 solid investigators who just dropped out. Their mom has heard bad things about the church and doesn’t want them to take the lessons anymore. We talk to everyone we see and they are all reluctant to hear about the gospel. When my companion is rejected he shuts down and he gets very frustrated if I try to help or give suggestions on what to do. I try to teach and I get the point across to where our investigators understand and my comp doesn’t trust the way that I teach and has to re-teach everything the way he wants to... The only comfort that I found this week was through my comforter and through the scriptures. I am trying my hardest to keep a good attitude and trying to do my best and be obedient and work hard and bear testimony and everything but it was just a rough week.

I am doing good though and I am loving my mission, this week was just a little rough.:) Thank you so much for your prayers and everything’s that you all have done for me!! I love you and will try to write and email when I can. I will get to it but there is just so little time but I WILL write.


Elder Stilson

1 Peter 1:7

Alma 32:40-43